Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chinese new year

please ignore the person peeping at the's my mom!LOL

The CNY is at our door step: the smell of burned firecrackers, incense, burned josh papers announces the arrival of the year of the tiger: more exactly the metal tiger. i hope this year will be good because the tiger is known to be a strong sign and the chinese horoscopes I am reading foretell of a "vigorous, swinging and hard working year ahead" ( it seems that the keyword to this year is "change and caution" especially for people born under signs less compatible with the tiger me amongst them but well..time has proved that i am resilient to change *wink* this is weird and probably my last CNY in the traditional sense since I will be away from my family for an undetermined amount of time. I am not superstitious per se nor religious but sometimes coincidences can be funny especially when reading almanacs from the pagoda.

So this morning we did the religious rites for the house gods, and ancestors. Afterwards josh papers and firecrackers were burned. The Chinese New Year Eve is rather quiet compared to the CNY itself. We had a mini family gathering and tomorrow there will be more people although I am going camping for three days. The morning will be spent wishing everyone happy new year, getting fong pao (the red envelope with lucky money) but first we'll have to shoot off the firecrackers to get rid of evil spirits on that day. Rooms are opened to let go of the old year and the light kept on all night if possible.

It's a tradition in my family that after the firecrackers are off, we go to the pagoda to light the first incenses of the year and pray for a prosperous New Year. I started going only on the second year after my return from Canada because it's hard to wake up at 4 am to go to the temple! Pagodas are usually opened from 1 am on this special day and people will walk in and out until noon. Then we'll have a vegetarian lunch with my ever favourite dish: veg mee foon!! It's rice thread noodles with fungi, mushrooms,lotus flowers, bamboo shoots and eaten with mustard sauce. OMG so yummy!!! I learned how to do it a while ago to be able to cook in in Canada when I was at uni. The evening will be spent with members of the extended family and finish late at night. The CNY is like an asian thanksgiving with family gatherings and respect to the ancestors and gods. we also have more traditions and taboos than western thanks giving.

I am reading that how since this year Valentine Day and CNY fall on the same day, businesses and people alike in Asia are feeling frustrated because they will have to choose between either family gathering or their partner and for the businesses, both celebration bring in big money. If it was me, I think I'll choose the CNY family gathering over the Valentine one, why? Because I don't need Vday to say I love you while CNY is richer in meaning and we to get to have the WHOLE family together which can be difficult on other days (at least in my opinion).

I'm starting to keep a record of my family traditions to be able to go on doing them when I am away. Maybe it's old age or what not but I realized that this is my heritage whether I like it or not and are things I want to share with my kids later on.

on a more arty note, I got my neocolor II crayons!! they're better than watercolour crayons and brighter! woohoo I can't wait to start using them although tomorrow it's the tradition not to use knives and scissors,how am I going to craft?? Hmm on an irrelevant note, I am in love with the UK Lush site and the prices are soo much cheaper than the NA american one!